It may be a new Premier League season but it’s the same story for West Ham United. Inconsistency in the attack and horrible defense continue to plague the Hammers year after year.
Losing to Liverpool 4-0 was bad but not entirely unexpected. It would be a shock if we had won at Anfield. Which made Saturday’s match up against Bournemouth the true start of the Manuel Pellegrini era.
The first half started off with both squads feeling each other out. West Ham then asserted themselves and dominated the final half hour of play.
What followed in the second half is the exact same West Ham team we’ve seen for the past eight years. A team prone to defensive lapses and inconsistent attack.
Callum Wilson’s goal was a wonderful piece of skill and power but Fabian Balbuena and Angelo Ogbonna were caught too close to eachother and put in poor efforts to stop the striker.
Balbuena whiffed on him and Ogbonna got caught watching the tackles rather than running in case Balbuena or Zabaletta didn’t make the tackle. It was a pathetic piece of defending was was exactly what we’ve seen from Ogbonna, Winston Reid, and Jose Fonte for the past five years.
It doesn’t help that Pellegrini decided to have Fabian Anderson and Arthur Masuaku play together. Anderson made Dimitri Payet look like a defensive workhorse while Masuaku left Mark Noble and Jack Wilshere to make up his space while we pushed too far forward.
Why haven’t we seen Issa Diop? He was highly regarded coming out of Tolouse and is our record defensive signing? He certainly faced better competition in Ligue 1 than Balbuena faced in the Brasilero.
Why wasn’t Ryan Fredericks in the squad or Declan Rice or Reece Oxford? Our defense looked disorganized and slow. It’s frustrating to watch veteran players in Balbuena and Ogbonna (now known as Malbuena and Ogbummer) make the same mistakes we’ve seen for years from Hammer defenders.
West Ham will face Arsenal next week in a match up from the bottom of the league. I’m hoping to see some significant improvement in our defense. Right now we’ll be lucky if we lose 2-0 to the Gunners.
Our Carabao Cup game could be a nice confidence builder but really it should be a chance for young players to get in the squad and get some experience. We’ll then face a talented Wolverhampton team and Everton before two tough games against Chelsea and Manchester United.
Realistically the way our team has played these two weeks we might finish September with zero points.
I hope I’m wrong but things aren’t looking too good in East London after what was a very promising preseason. The toxicity level at the club is already starting to go up and Pellegrini is losing much of the goodwill he built up during the transfer window and preseason.
If our defense doesn’t improve we’re going to be mired in a toxic culture for another season and our great club is going to suffer again.
Let’s hope that Pellegrini can get this sorted sooner rather than later because I’m sick of the same old West Ham story.